Critical Review of the Use of Second-Generation Antipsychotics in Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

Drugs R D. 2018 Sep;18(3):167-189. doi: 10.1007/s40268-018-0246-8.


Currently, all second-generation antipsychotics are approved for schizophrenia. Many are also approved for bipolar disorder, with some also approved as adjunctive treatment for depression and autism-related irritability. Second-generation antipsychotics are increasingly being prescribed for indications other than those approved by the Food and Drug Administration, such as in dementia, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder to name a few. Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders are a group of disorders characterized by preoccupation and repetitive behaviors. According to the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania, hoarding disorder, and excoriation, the latter two being newly designated disorders, fall under obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. Due to a lack of well designed clinical studies specifically addressing the use of second-generation antipsychotics in obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, it is unknown whether these agents are clinically beneficial. Current research describing the pathophysiology of these disorders shows the involvement of similar brain regions and neurotransmitters across the five obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. Despite differences in the receptor binding profiles, second-generation antipsychotics share many common pharmacodynamics properties. This review sought to examine all the published reports of second-generation antipsychotics being used in the management of symptoms of the aforementioned diseases and compile evidence for clinicians who encounter patients who are unresponsive to standard treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Hoarding Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Trichotillomania / drug therapy*


  • Antipsychotic Agents